Finding Federal Land Patents in Indiana’s Gore

Indiana’s Gore is a triangle of land in southeastern Indiana. It is bordered by the Indiana-Ohio state border to the east, the Ohio River to the south, and the Greenville Treaty line to the west. The Gore is a unique area with more ties to Ohio than Indiana which makes finding its records a challenge.

Land in the Gore was surveyed by the federal government. The principal meridian (PM) used for the Gore was the first PM drawn. It was a line north from the mouth of Great Miami River (the present-day Ohio-Indiana state border). The baseline was a line west from the mouth of the Great Miami River. The survey created townships running north to south and ranges running east to west. Read more about federal land states on the FamilySearch Wiki.

Land sales in the Gore occurred at the Land Office at Cincinnati which opened on 10 May 1800. Land was originally sold in quarter sections or larger at no less than $2 per acre. Land could be sold on credit. Later land could be sold in smaller pieces for less, but it had to be paid for in cash at the time of the purchase.

Land in the Gore has various descriptions, including:

  • “West of the Meridian line, drawn from the mouth of the Great Miami river”
  • “West of the Meridian line”
  • “In the District of Lands subject to sale at Cincinnati, Ohio (lying in Indiana).”

Land Patents

After an individual finished paying for his land, he received a land patent. Federal land patents are available for free on the Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records website.

The top search box allows the user to choose a state to search within. But because the land in the Gore was sold at Cincinnati, the indexers sometimes marked the land as being in Ohio instead of Indiana. The user can run two searches, one within Indiana and one within Ohio. Alternatively, the user can search using the following steps:

  • Location: For state, choose “Any State” at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Leave county blank.
  • Land Description: Choose “1st PM” for Meridian. Leave township, range and section blank, unless you are searching for a known piece of land.
  • Miscellaneous: Under Land Office, choose “Cincinnati.” Leave other boxes blank.
  • Names: It is recommend to only fill in the surname field. the BLM website does not do fuzzy searches, so make sure to search for alternative spellings.

Ancestry.com also has a database with images of the land patents called “U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907.” It can be easier to pull up alternative spellings of names using this database.

Once you have found your ancestor’s land patent, you can learn more about the land purchase with the BLM Tract Books.

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